Mr Andrew Pang, President, Design Business Chamber Singapore (DBCS),

Mr Ho Meng Kit, CEO, Singapore Business Federation (SBF),

Mr Douglas Foo, President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF),

Mr Vincent Tan, President, Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS),

Mr Mark Yong, President, Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC),

Executive Council Members,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening.


1. It is my pleasure to join you for the DBCS Awards Night & Gala Dinner. Tonight, we not only celebrate the 71 winners of the Singapore Good Design Mark (SG Mark) 2018, we also witness a milestone for the design and business communities with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between DBCS and four major Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs).

Design-enabled innovation

2. Design is crucial to every company – regardless of size or industry. Let me borrow from the words of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, from his speech at the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Ministerial Forum in April. “Design is a core element of our nation-building. Singapore is a nation by design. Nothing we have today is natural, or happened by itself. Somebody thought about it, made it happen. Not our economic growth, not our international standing, not our multiracial harmony, not even our nationhood. Nothing was by chance.”

3. Just like our nation, our enterprises must hold design as core to their development. Our companies can sharpen their competitive edge through constant innovation, and must have design as an important tool in their arsenal.

4. The SG Mark 2018 winners, who represent the best in Singapore’s design talent, exemplify how design can be used as an innovation and business tool. I am pleased to note that DBCS has introduced a new category for the SG Mark – “Smart Nation” – to mirror the goal for Singapore to be a technologically-empowered nation. While the 10 winners in the Smart Nation category apply digital and smart technologies to differentiate themselves, their ability to apply design to address issues is something they share in common with the winners of the Life, Social and Industry categories.

Design as a tool for enterprise growth

5. For example, Philips has developed a “Health Continuum Space” facility, with 12 fully-reconfigurable home-to-hospital clinical environments. Through this, users can visualise medical- and healthcare at home, in an ambulance, in the emergency room, intensive care unit, and a recovery room. This facility charts out the entire patient journey, from living healthily at home to being diagnosed and treated for an illness in a hospital, and finally recovery at home with remote monitoring.

6. With the Health Continuum Space, Philips has successfully leveraged design to engage and create value for clients and stakeholders in an imaginative way. Because the Health Continuum Space makes it simpler for healthcare professionals and partners to visualise and demonstrate the patient journey and cross- business propositions, it will help break down siloes between departments, enhance the quality and efficiency of clinical diagnosis, and drive user-centric service transformation.

7. Another example is Changi Airport Group’s newest Terminal 4. Various stakeholders were involved in the design process to ensure that functionality and operational requirements were met. CAG also conducted trials and exercises with 10,000 volunteers and airport personnel to refine standard operating procedures and familiarise staff with the new terminal and its processes.

8. The Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) programme aims to drives innovation and human-centric design improvements in hardware and software, taking into consideration ergonomics, intuitiveness and clarity for the user. Through the use of self-service facilities, passengers are empowered to design and personalise their airport experience.  

9. The extensive use of technology not only boosts capacity but can yield up to 20% in manpower savings at steady state. Staff can be retrained to take on higher value jobs and engage passengers with a more personal touch.

10. As airports move towards self-service and automation, T4 redefines the airport experience by tapping on game changing technology to provide efficient and stress-free travel. It advances Changi Airport’s competiveness as an air hub and further seals its position as one of the best airports in the world.

11. To expand the role of design in government and businesses, the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) together with the Economic Development Board (EDB) launched the Innovation by Design programme last year to match design experts to companies and public agencies to help transform these organisations through design. To date, 10 organisations, including Changi Airport Group, have come on-board.  I would also like to take this opportunity to appreciate DBCS for working with Dsg to encourage SMEs to adopt design, be it through supporting certification for design consultants, or organising outreach sessions to share how design can be a tool for innovation.

Developing TACs’ capabilities in design

12. I am glad to see how DBCS has been an enthusiastic proponent of design innovation. It has been tirelessly engaging our SMEs through Enterprise Singapore’s platforms, as well as private sector platforms such as the Singapore Business Federation (SBF’s) SME Convention, the Shin Min and the Bosses Network’s SME Learning Cruise, and multiple design innovation forums.

13. Tonight marks an important milestone for both the design and business communities, as DBCS inks its inaugural Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with four other TACs: SBF, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS), and the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC). This MOU signifies a firm commitment between TACs to jointly help businesses adopt design innovation as a key driver for business transformation.

14. Our TACs are key partners of our business community, and can multiply the efforts to their members and their industries.

15. With the MOU signed today, the five TACs will:

a. Promote design thinking and innovation as a strategic driver to businesses in the face of constant disruptions;
b. Create platforms for the design and business communities to forge partnerships; and
c. Tap each other’s expertise and resources to benefit the stakeholders they serve.

16. I hope that this collaboration marks the beginning of more businesses and more TACs sharing expertise and resources for the benefit of the entire business community.


17. To the award winners, congratulations. I hope that you will continue to design and innovate, and strive to develop new solutions to challenges old and new.

18.     I would also like to extend my congratulations to DBCS, SBF, SMF, RAS, and SFIC on the signing of your MOU. I hope that this collaboration will allow you and your industries to chase bigger dreams and achieve greater heights.

19. Thank you.

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